Let’s kill off this meme, shall we? Experience is required, but more importantly, what you learn from the experience is even more essential. John McCain brags about his experience in government, and yet he’s supported the worst president ever over 90% of the time, even against his better judgment for the sake of running to succeed him.
So if the GOP is frantically retooling their message to eliminate the experience requirement, what does that leave us with? Well, Gov. Palin is a “refreshing and bold” choice. That’s fine if you’re describing a new flavor of Diet Coke, but I don’t think Madison Avenue works when you’re selling a vice presidential candidate whose truck has the bumper sticker “VEGETARIAN: OLD INDIAN WORD FOR ‘BAD HUNTER'”. That supports gun rights and anti-Native American racism in seven words or less. That kind of “refreshing and bold” attitude is more suited to a Minuteman reunion.
The next meme is that the Palin pick “[w]ipes out the image of McCain as the crotchety elder and brings back that of the fly-boy and gambler, which is much more appealing, and the genuine person.” What, by caving to the right wing of the party? Sucking up to James Dobson and the Religious Reich? That’s not bold; that proves he’s a pushover, and if he’s elected, the evangelicals will demand even more from him than the lip service they got from the Bush administration. They’ll want the full monty, and with Palin in the West Wing, they’ll probably get it.
A bold move would have been to pick Joe Lieberman. That would have proven his maverick status far more powerfully to the people that matter; the puppetmasters in Colorado Springs, and it would have indicated to the independents and disgruntled Hillary Clinton supporters that he was willing to have a voice for choice and progressive views — in some areas — in his administration. Instead, he went with someone who loudly proclaims that “we think women are morons who will vote for anyone with a vagina.”
At least with Joe Lieberman they could have kept up the argument about experience with a straight face. The fact that Joe Lieberman too learned nothing from supporting the Bush administration’s march into Iraq would at least given us something to discuss on a policy level rather than all of this head-spinning turnabout and the SNL level claim that because Alaska is close to Russia, Ms. Palin knows something about foreign policy… or what time zone Diomede Island is in. (Based on that, Florida Gov. Charlie Crist should be Secretary of Homeland Security because Cuba is 90 miles off Key West.)
It’s probably too much to ask, but let’s dispense with these ludicrous ideas that Gov. Palin’s selection was both bold for the Republicans and disastrous for the Democrats. The happy talk from the Wormtongues like William Kristol and Rush Limbaugh is only out there to mask the internal discomfort that I know is being felt privately by some Republicans who see Ms. Palin as a token choice who, if elected, will make the selection of Dan Quayle in 1988 look positively brilliant by comparison. After all, she could be the next president or, by rights, the GOP nominee in 2012 or 2016, and people inside the party are really wondering if that’s the way they want their party to go. But apparently John McCain and his Rovian advisers didn’t think about that. That reminds me of the statement by Matthew Harrison Brady from Inherit the Wind by Lawrence and Lee: “I do not think about the things that … I do not think about.” To which Henry Drummond retorts, “Do you ever think about the things that you do think about?”